Striking a Balance between work and motherhood

May 22, 2012

ImagerkGrowing up, I took having a working mother for granted.  Sure, I would be frustrated that she was not involved with the other PTA moms and would just show up for an event, and leave after my performance.  At times I resented that she had to travel for work or left me waiting in the car when she was only supposed to dash into her clothing store for a moment.  I’d kind of shake my head when people would comment on how incredible and talented my mom was.  She was my mom and my default more fallible than most.  

I’d echo her sentiment as I got older about how all of those non working moms were lost as their kids grew up and depended on them less.  How empty their lives must be, happiness contingent on their children. 

My mom never knew when I had homework or tests, but I did well and she did not need to become involved in that.  Perhaps she knew my teachers’ names but missed many of the details of my day.  

Now as a mom of a little girl, I want my daughter to know that she can be a  mom and have a career.  I’m extremely lucky that I do not have a traditional job – something I’ve felt guilty about in the past. I know she resents that I cannot come to all of the school field trips, of course even if I wanted to, the other moms would want a chance as well. I may not do all of the pick ups and drop offs as she might like, but I have an identity outside of my children.  I am more than a mom and a wife.  I am a business woman.  

I recently sold a real estate investment that had run mostly, save for a few days a month, on auto pilot.  When I first purchased the property my dad had told me to downplay it lest people get jealous and give me the evil eye.  Over the years my husband has encouraged me to share my accomplishments and investments as they are noteworthy.  

This year I had signed up to make my son’s class yearbook and through some miscommunication another mom became involved.  The last time we spoke about the yearbook she was letting it stress her out.  “I cancelled all of my appointments today,” she lamented.  And I felt guilty for a moment until I realized it was  an appointment with her designer.  I was meeting with attorneys and real estate brokers, tenants and handymen.  I may not have a full time job the way some parents do at hedge funds but I have commitments that help me strike the closest thing I can to a work/ home balance.  And I’ll take it. 

This post was inspired but the book Julia’s Child by Sarah Pienneo.  I received a complimentary copy of the novel through my participation in the book club From Left to Write.  


Those PTA Moms

May 15, 2012

I like the moms at my kids’ nursery school.  

At first I was seduced by the blonde stylish moms who never seemed to be as frayed as I was but as I listen to their chatter about the PTA I’m grateful to be removed from the drama, although of course I love catching moments of their insecurities and cattiness.  


Today I overheard two mother’s discussing some sort of invitation and whether the final design had been approved and if it had been sent out.  The day before a friend commented how she had volunteered for the teacher luncheon in honor of teacher appreciation week and then whispered that the PTA president did a poor job.  I smiled to myself grateful to be removed from all of it.  The same friend said she did not want to get too involved with another school event because the volunteers bickered over how certain items got approved without the head volunteer’s knowledge.  


In a moment of weakness I had volunteered to make my son’s yearbook on shutterfly. And given all that is happening at the moment with work and life and such this yearbook is less appealing than changing a poopy diaper, or even wiping my toddlers’ poopy tushes.  And yet, here I am committed. I’ve tried to recuse myself and have solicited two active volunteers but they have not gotten the hint that I do not want to be involved.  I’ve set up the account and tried to get them started.  But no, they have not taken the hint.


I’m now more interested in being friends with the moms that know how to have fun.   Who enjoy being with their kids and the activities that consume me.  Some of the mom’s will just pass through the nursery school and once they move onto their kids’ elite private schools will make more serious friends.  Who knows.  Life is too short to care. 


Happiness is not a destination

May 13, 2012

On my last visit to the shrink, Dr made a few notes and told me, you sound happy.  And i am.  I see how fortunate I am with my family and most of our health and I enjoy our time together.  I reflect on my mom and our memories of laughing and traveling.  I hear my grandmother share her memories of my mom.  She lived without regrets and seized each day, tackling obstacles, smiling and moving forward.  That’s what i intend to do no matter the challenge.  


As my father continues another round of cancer treatment, I focus on the positive and since his treatment is well attended to by him and his wife, I focus on other things.  We spend time together and talk frequently.  My dad’s attitude has changed as well and he’s living more fully, knowing it’s not a dress rehearsal.  My therapist asked if perhaps he is sicker than he’s letting on.  


I know he’s sick. I do not know the extent of his cancers nor the severity, treatments and statistics.  But it does not matter because I would not do anything differently.  There had been a few things unsaid but we had a conversation where I asked my questions about his past.  Some of the answers surprised me and contrasted with my mom’s accounts.  Mom had thirty years to share her uncensored thoughts and memories, my father is entitled to a rebuttal over lunch.  *Sorry Mom you did not get in the last word.  



That Time of the Year

May 11, 2012

Mothers Day is three days away and while it is less painful then previous years it still hurts.  I miss my mom.  Some days I really feel her presence like last weekend in New Orleans. Most of the trip I kept thinking of how much she would enjoy the city and then, when posing with local Indians in their colorful garb I was channeling my mother even repeating her mantra when forcing us to pose for photographs, “You’ll thank me later.”


So here I am, 33 years old, married with three children, running my mom’s business, running my own business, attending to my mom’s mom, and doing the best I can.  There are times I feel just like my mom, other times I feel her presence beside me – one time I even channeled her telling me, “I can’t make it so obvious” and other times I just want to talk to her.


Earlier this week my husband’s boss’s wife invited me to some mother’s day fundraiser movie screening/ event. I did the big thing and invited my step mother (who subsequently ignored said email).  I told my husband last night about the invite and he asked what I was doing instead.  And he guffed when I said staying home.  But I just do not want to be at some mother-daughter event that my mom would have enjoyed.


It’s hard.  It’s supposed to be hard. And I remind myself how lucky I am to have a mother so wonderful whose void is so profound.